Managed security service provider, MessageLabs, is seeking to triple the number of partners involved in its SMB associate partner program by the end of the year.
Partner account director, Belinda Burgess, said the number of existing associate partners grew from five to 50 during 2006. It was now hoping to swell this to 150.
"We've only just started scratching the surface," she said. "We signed up almost 50 in the past year and often that was just through word of mouth, or a reseller finding that one of its customers was already using MessageLabs and realising it would be a good thing to offer other customers."
Associate partners target SMBs with a product dubbed MessageLabs in a Box, which can be deployed in minutes by resellers who haven't undergone any kind of formal certification with the vendor.
"Resellers like the associate program because they don't have to spend time getting certified, but can make 15 easy points through a sale," MessageLabs marketing director, Andrew Antal, said. "After 12 months, they can make the sale again to that customer and make another 15 points."
To cover the growth in the associate program and the SMB market in general, the vendor will double its internal sales team of volume sales executives to eight by July.
Executives will pass on sales leads to appropriate resellers.
MessageLabs also retains 12 certified partners, including Dimension Data, which earn additional margin by providing extra services such as support and marketing.